Making things ‘smart’ is seemingly applied to just about anything these days. Smartphones, smart watches, smart fridges… the list is almost endless. But have you considered smart workspaces?
Technology can be used in all sorts of different ways to transform our lives in the office, just as much as it has in our personal lives. The workspaces we use within the office are no exception to this, and it’s time to stop thinking of them as a collection of walls and bits of furniture. Augmenting our workspaces with technology can make office work more efficient, more transparent, and better suited to the modern world of work. At a time when flexible working models are on the rise, these are all important considerations.
This blog explores five ways in which technology can enable smarter workspaces, and better serve not only the employees using them, but also the business providing them:
1. Scheduling status
When workspaces operate on a shared, bookable basis, it’s important that everyone within a building can easily find out who has booked a particular space and when. In part, this can be done with a workspace booking platform, either online or an app, but employees also need to be able to check the status of a workspace at the location itself.
To solve this problem, spaces can be fitted with dedicated screens, which display information about current or upcoming bookings. These screens can also be fitted with LED light displays, so that the availability of a particular space can be checked, even from another part of the office.
2. Automated check-in
Employees want a seamless experience when they come into the office, so they aren’t held back by stress or admin, and so their productivity is maximized. When they arrive, they want to be able to get straight to their booked workspace and not lose time with front-of-house processes.
A good workspace booking solution can automate the check-in process for any employees using the mobile app, both for checking into the building and into a booked workspace. Once the employee approaches the area in question, they are checked in without any manual intervention, meaning they can get to work immediately without inconvenience.
3. Usage and analytics
Knowing how workspaces are used is key to understanding any changes that have to be made in the future. For example, the number of meeting rooms in an office may not be keeping up with demand, and virtual meetings end up becoming more commonplace as a result, even though they aren’t practical for some types of collaboration.
Businesses need to know about problems like these as quickly as possible, so that they can scale meeting room availability up to meet demand. Analytics capabilities embedded into workspace management solutions can deliver those vital insights quickly enough for management to respond with agility.
4. Visitor support
Smart workspaces aren’t just about the employees who use them on a regular basis. The experiences of visitors like clients or customers who attend occasionally are just as important. They expect to leave with a positive impression of a professional, forward-thinking, organized company that they want to do business with – and not think of a company with a complicated mess of an office.
This is where wayfinding solutions come into their own. With clear signage and information, visitors can easily get information on where and when their meetings are taking place as soon as they arrive, and understand how to get there. This functionality can remove the hassle or confusion for external meeting attendees, even in the biggest and most complex of offices.
5. Safety and security
Whether internal or external visitors to the office, a large cross-section will still have some reservations about returning to environments with lots of other people. The long-lasting impacts of the pandemic mean that this is likely to remain an issue for some time, and many businesses will find they have a duty of care, not only to keep attendees safe, but also to provide some reassurance.
Workspace booking solutions can help by enforcing capacity limits and social distancing if required, but in the longer term, contact tracing functionality will also prove useful in order to minimize the effects of anyone falling ill with COVID-19 in the future. As the virus becomes endemic, technology like this will remain useful in keeping offices as operational as possible, and ensuring that people feel confident enough to work from them and to visit them.